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Gravano Arrest Foils Tampering Case

May 3, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Federal prosecutors will not charge an alleged mob associate with jury tampering, in part because the testimony of mob turncoat Salvatore ``Sammy the Bull″ Gravano wouldn’t be credible now that he has been arrested on drug charges.

Prosecutors said their ability to try Bosko Radonjich had been ``adversely affected by several factors,″ Gravano’s Feb. 24 arrest on charges of masterminding a multimillion-dollar drug ring in the Phoenix area.

The government insisted in court papers filed Tuesday that Radonjich tampered with a juror in an effort to throw the first federal trial of John J. Gotti, the former Gambino family crime boss. Gotti was acquitted in 1987 and convicted in 1992 on racketeering and murder charges.

Prosecutors had wanted Gravano as a witness in the Radonjich case because he had testified in 1992 that he gave Radonjich $60,000 with which to bribe a juror in Gotti’s 1987 trial. In 1987, Radonjich headed the Westies, a Manhattan gang controlled by the Gambino family, authorities said.

The juror, George Pape, was indicted with Radonjich in 1992. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. Radonjich fled the country and remained a fugitive for nearly eight years until his arrest Jan. 1 at a Miami airport when U.S. Customs officials happened across the old jury-tampering warrant.

When he was arrested, Radonjich was carrying pictures of military and diplomatic installations, The New York Times reported, citing unidentified law enforcement charges. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in 1978 in connection with the bombing of the Yugoslav consul’s home in suburban Chicago, the officials said.

Radonjich remains in custody and faces federal charges of giving a false address to Customs inspectors.

Gravano, who admitted killing 19 people, turned against the mob and helped convict Gotti and dozens of other onetime cronies. Under his deal with prosecutors, Gravano served only five years for racketeering, then set up a new life under the federal witness protection program.

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